For the first time in its history, US dairy co-op Organic Valley recorded sales of $1.2bn for 2020.
The result comes against a backdrop of chaos for the sector, with conventional dairy markets forced to dump milk amid the pandemic. Organic Valley said it held a stable pay price for its family farms, improved financials, and grew a steady demand for organic milk and dairy.
Headquartered in La Farge, Wisconsin, Organic Valley is the USA’s largest farmer-owned organic co-operative and one of the world’s biggest organic brands. Products include milk, cheese, eggs, soy, protein shakes, butter, and yogurt, and it has 1,800 farmer-owners across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK.
“Farms continue to disappear at an alarming rate while the number of animals grows steadily, producing food in systems designed without regard for the long-term, holistic benefit of people, animals, and the environment,” said CEO Bob Kirchoff.
“We are here to offer an alternative: an opportunity for organic family farms to thrive. Family farms care for animals, steward natural resources, produce nourishing food, strengthen rural communities, and pass that care on from one generation to the next, giving all of us a better food system for tomorrow.”
As more people chose to cook healthy food from home in 2020, Organic Valley experienced consolidated sales growth of 4.5%. An increase in conscious shopping choices by individuals across the country helped the cooperative uphold a stable pay price for its organic family farms.
“Our farmers produced exceptionally high-quality products and exemplified co-operation each step of the way,” said Arnie Trussoni, Organic Valley farmer-member and 2020 board president.
“Employees remained steadfast in their commitment to the co-op, overcoming the challenges of remote work, homeschooling, and childcare, and our essential on-site workers showed up every day to make sure we kept getting farmers’ products out the door. As we reflect on what’s happened in the world around us this past year, uncertainty and insecurity were common themes. But the last year for CROPP was the opposite—it was a year marked by strength and stability.”
By driving net income, reducing debt, holding pay price, and returning dollars to farmers, Organic Valley says it made considerable progress in 2020 that will support a long-term future for organic family farms. Compared to 2019, the co-op improved consolidated net income by $48.4.